In Summer 2013, I came across a boy waving down passing cars for help along a remote country road in South Texas. He had no way of knowing it, but the boy was stranded in the middle of Brooks County, a large swath of ranch land that has become a cemetery for lost migrants.
I picked up the boy. His name is Alex and the story of meeting Alex stewed inside of me for a good year before I found the perfect editor who I knew would understand the story that needed telling. Roger D. Hodge accepted the piece for the Oxford American.
One of the challenges in telling the story was that it couldn’t be about me. When you look a boy in the eye and tell him, “you are going to die,” the story can not be ‘look what happened to me.’ On the other hand, I didn’t have Alex’s “story,” meaning I couldn’t purport to tell a migrant’s tale.
Two years later, I wrote the piece while on a writer’s residency through the Lannan Foundation. The essay tells of a place–the borderlands–and the humanity and inhumanity found there. The essay appeared in the Fall issue of the OA and in December, the magazine selected “My Name is Alex” as a highlight of 2015. You can find a direct link to the piece here.